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Thoughts on The Third Preseason Game

| August 30th, 2015

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This Felt Familiar…

We’ve been here before. Or at least close to it. Just a year ago, the fans and the team entered the third preseason game with the expectation that the Bears would show something against the defending Super Bowl Champions. At halftime of that game, the Bears trailed 31-0.

This one wasn’t quite as bad, but the Bengals are not the 2014 Seahawks, especially not with a quarterbacking duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron. But this was bad. There were far too many instances where I felt like I was watching the 2014 Bears again. Unlike the 2014 Bears, the 2015 Bears have a coaching staff capable of making evaluations and adjustments.

There’s always a thought that the third preseason game somehow means something. In 2010, the Bears trailed Arizona 7-0 at halftime of the third preseason game. The Bears went 11-5 and played in the NFC Championship game, the Cardinals finished 5-11.

On the offensive side…

• Charles Leno Jr. might become a good tackle one day, but that isn’t happening any time soon and the Bears need to sit him down until he isn’t terrible anymore. Leno looks like he’s thinking too much, which is causing him to play slow. He’s been strictly at left tackle his entire NFL career before switching sides two weeks ago. That means a complete change in footwork and hand placement, the two areas he’s struggling. That’s why he might figure it out one day and become adequate and maybe even good, but, until then, they need to figure something else out.

What’s the alternative? We already know Jordan Mills can’t play, Michael Ola was OK at right tackle last year, but he hasn’t looked good in the preseason either. Moving Kyle Long doesn’t appear to be an option anymore as the interior depth isn’t much better. It’s going to be a problem throughout the season, something they’re going to have to scheme around.

• Jermon Bushrod hasn’t been much better than Leno or Mills. Bushrod is 31 and has a bad back, his days of being an adequate tackle are probably over. It might be time to try him on the right side with Leno moving back to his more familiar position. It couldn’t hurt.

• The struggles upfront made it difficult to judge anyone else on the offense. Cutler looked good, but his failure to lead Rashad Lawrence on a third-and-long play might have cost them a first down. Lawrence had a step on his defender, but the ball was slightly behind him, causing him to slow down. He still might have gotten the first down had he not dropped the pass. Although it was a little behind him, it’s a catch Lawrence needed to make.

On the defensive side…

• Last year, the Bears two best players in the secondary and two of their best defensive players overall were Tim Jennings and Ryan Mundy. Now, they might both be backups and it wouldn’t be a shock if they didn’t make the team.

Mundy being a backup is understandable. They want someone with more range next to Rolle, who has none. The Jennings benching is confusing. I hadn’t heard of any struggles from him in camp and he was good in the first two preseason games, certainly better than any of their other cornerbacks. But he didn’t play until the second quarter and ended up playing in the fourth. Of course, he stunk, which might be something they’ve been seeing consistently in practice.

Another note about it was that Fuller was switched over to the left side that Jennings has manned for the last five years. Jennings is a veteran who found a home on that side and probably didn’t want to switch, his “benching” could have been disciplinary. Fuller, meanwhile, looked as good as he has since early last season.

• The Bears didn’t use a cornerback in their goal line package, instead putting an extra linebacker in with Brock Vereen.

• How did the Bears limit Andrew Luck a week ago and get destroyed by Dalton this week? A lack of pass rush. If the Bears defense is going to crack the top-20 this year, they need to get to the other team’s quarterback consistently. That didn’t happen against the Bengals and they were carved up by mediocre quarterbacks.

• Twitter was blowing up with people calling out Shea McClellin’s coverage woes, but they really weren’t that bad. There were a couple underneath passes in which McClellin was right there to make the tackle and the 25-yard pass play which was a good throw and catch. Who knew Dalton was capable of making a back-shoulder throw in traffic?

Benching Shea for Jon Bostic or Mason Foster won’t fix the coverage issues. They’ve both had their struggles in that department this preseason and throughout their NFL careers.

• When the Bears have both Eddie Goldman and Jeremiah Ratliff on their defensive line, they’re tough to run on. They both constantly get push into the backfield, but when both are out, the Bears are in trouble.

Will Sutton has made more plays than any other Bears defensive lineman, but he can’t play nose tackle this scheme. Sutton was destroyed by a double team on Jeremy Hill’s 26-yard run. We already know Ratliff is going to miss the first three games, if Goldman misses significant time with his concussion, the Bears are going to have to figure something else out or Eddie Lacy is going to run for 200 yards on them in Week 1.

  • CanadaBear

    Didn’t see the game. Apparently that’s a good thing.

    • Huge Bear’s Penis

      after reading that, i am kind of glad i did not see the game either

      • Big Mike

        There were some matchups that were won. But on offense one lost matchup destroys a play. Unfortunately at RT we had many bad outcomes. When that guy got it right, seems like LT chipped in by getting beat.

  • The GP

    It’s a bad team. I think Fangio may pull Shae and go with Foster and Jones. Jones problem is mental, Shae is just slow.

    Sutton can penetrate on passing downs, but can be washed out with the center on a solo block on the run. He’s not a NT but certainly looks good playing with Flatbread like quickness at times.

    The secondary is a fucking mess. Tracy Porter is bullshit. McMannis seems destined for the slot and Mitchell is playing his way up to start. Fuller will get the nod but sucks. The safeties are all atrocious. The team is a mess.

    I don’t even know what to do at the tackles except go hard at the waiver.

    Wideouts: Marioni and Lawrence can play. Bellamy is gone. Cruz is bullshit.

    We don’t have a blocking TE on run downs.

    The best players on this team are Cutler and Forte.

    This is going to be ugly.

    • CanadaBear

      Other than Sutton showing up were there any other positives last night?

      • The GP

        Mitchell continues to improve. Lawrence has size and strength, and runs good routes. If he could fucking hold on to the ball, that might be something.

        The backs and interior run game is ok, but runs quickly collapse when the outside tackles both get shed in 2 seconds.

        Unicorn over the middle seems the go to play.

        Cutler played very well.

        We have some edge rushers in McPhee and Houston. Acho. All these guys can get home in a way that Allen cannot anymore. Ego and Jenkins do really well on their assignments. Outside of the inside linebackers who step slow, react slow, cover slow and tackle slow, the down 3 and the outside backers can play – as long as you keep Allen off the field.

        There is NOTHING good to say about the safeties. The 2nd TD was a joke, the safeties were so flat footed it was a bad bad case of Adam Archulitis.

        • CanadaBear

          Thanks GP. As far as the injuries are concerned, I think Dave hit the nail on the head the other day when he said a lot of it is due to a hard physical camp for the first time in about 5-6 years. I’m guessing 6-10 this year but nothing would surprise me at this point (other than being really good).

      • Waffle

        Lamar Houston looks like he’s recovering nicely…..

        • Irish Sweetness

          2 sacks.

      • AlbertInTucson

        I’m POSITIVE my expectations should remain low.

    • BerwynBomber

      I’d put Bennett in that best player category. Don’t know if Long has done anything to damage his reputation either.

      • Waffle

        It is all but guaranteed that Long is now the starting RT of the Chicago Bears. Just wait and see. Coaches simply cannot ignore what happened last night. It was epic…..bad epic.

        • The GP

          They will swap Bushrod and Leno before they do that

          • Waffle

            Leno on Jay’s blindside:

            Note to self, draft Clausen in Fantasy.

          • Joecashflow

            Clausen concussion pattern just negated that idea and we signed another QB. Clausen may be cut?

    • Johnnywad

      I’m out of market. You’re making me second guess my Sunday NFL Ticket purchase from DirecTV for the coming season.

      • Big Mike

        It will be a blessing to be 8-8. My take and this isn’t just based on pre-season game 3, is that the Bears will be blown our 4-5x this year. They will be competitive in the remainder and should 6-8 games. Is that enough to justify the package? For me it is.

        • Johnnywad

          I think they’ll be 8-8/9-7. But then I haven’t seen a snap of preseason ball. That said, I’ll stick with the package no matter what. Shit, I watched last year.

          • Big Mike

            Exactly. At the end of last season, my favorite Sunday Afternoons were when the Bears didn’t play and I watched 2-3 different games. Red Zone is a blast.

            In the pre-season they’ve looked like you might expect, up until last night where they looked lethargic. There is always hope. A rising 8-8 would be encouraging. I don’t know how they get a win the first 3 weeks. 1-4 looks a lot more likely than not. Packers, Cardinals at home, at Seahawks, Raiders at home, at Chiefs, at Lions than a bye. 2-4 would be understandable. 1-5 wouldn’t surprise me. In all seriousness, I’m more concerned about how they lose. Were they competitive?

            I see 3 games on the schedule this season that I’d be surprised if we lost (Raiders, 49ers and Redskins) you could make an argument for a 4th game I’d be surprised about @ Buccaneers.

            With that said, who knows. Any of the teams I’m thinking we won’t beat could explode. Rodgers goes down, Rivers goes down, Lions behave like the Lions and the Bears are sniffing 500.

          • EnderWiggin

            Red Zone is a blast. If the Bears are playing on Sunday or Monday night, Red Zone is the best thing ever to happen on Sundays. Scott Hanson could be my favorite color commentator as well.

          • Big Mike

            Man, I’m glad somebody agreed with me on that. Even when the Bears have the late game, it;s cool to watch the early games. It saved my Sundays for me last year.

          • Irish Sweetness

            I think the Raiders will surprise people with their defense. Carr, Murray, Crabtree and Cooper could be lightning in a bottle.

      • RenoBear

        Hey call directv and try to get them to lower the price. I got mine knocked down from $360 down to $165 for Sunday ticket max. It’s worth a shot. Every year I call and get it lowered at least 60-100 bucks just by calling… So they must’ve felt sorry for me being a Bears fan this year, I was shocked to get that much off.

        • Johnnywad

          Thanks for the tip RB. Will do.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Or POX grow a pair and upgrade Acho, Timu or Anderson ….

  • BerwynBomber

    Anyone else think Tiny Tim looks a tad heavy? He was always a bit of a Mighty Mouse but now he looks like a guy carrying an extra 10 lbs or so. Or it could simply be that he got old overnight.

    Only silver lining is that the Cheese appear more of mess than we are. Yeah, I know, Rodgers; and I get that. But that’s their banged up/depleted O. Their D is apparently healthy and the Iggles almost put up four TDs on them in the first half. Thing is DET and even Minny might pass both of us.

    Btw, would be interesting if there are any stats out there that show whether 3rd preseason results are at all indicative of the regular season, though I’m guessing the sample size is so small probably not.

    • The GP

      I spent $30 on Randall Cobb so of course he hurts himself.

      • AlbertInTucson

        And we all say “Thank you.”

      • Irish Sweetness

        It’s a minor injury apparently GP. I’m just glad we have them in week one. It’s our best chance at a victory when their receivers will be running into one another.

      • Irish Sweetness

        Welcome to receiver fix-its.

        John Brown – did anyone get him? Might go interstellar this year.

        Wheaton from the Steelers should be available – Martavis Bryant is going to be hung out to dry for substance abuse.

        Agholor for the Eagles looks like a beast.

        Eddie Royal ! Man up.

        Charles Johnson for the Vikes, even Mike Wallace. Bridgewater might have his coming out parade this year.

        • All gone. Bunch of scavengers. I swooped up Royal and Aghilor for about $10 combined.
          Straight cash, homie

          • Irish Sweetness

            Allen Robinson / Andrew Hawkins, GP. Desperate times.

  • The Ghost of Super Bowl XX

    it’s terrible realized that team lacks of talent in several positions.

  • BearDown100393

    Disappointed to watch a defense not able to stop the Bengals run game.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Not many can, they’re a great running team. I wouldn’t lose heart because of that.

      I wouldn’t worry about the Bears based on week 3. That wasn’t the Chicago Bears. We’ll see them in week one without two of their biggest threats.

  • Waffle

    Well boys, Kyle Long simply has to be the RT of this team. Holy Balls that was bad. Leno and Mills make me miss Webb.

    • Big Mike

      Shut your mouth.

    • Frank Schoenburg

      Put Ola out there.

  • Waffle

    Dannehy solid post but completely wrong about that Rashad Lawrence pass, it was perfect and was dropped by a guy that won’t be in the NFL….except on the bears maybe

    • BerwynBomber

      I’m a little higher on Lawrence than you. At best he is a fourth on the depth chart guy but he looks serviceable. Anyway, one bad drop is no biggie. Alshon had four or five of them in the second DET game last year, and in one of the Cheese games (BUF maybe?) Nelson and Cobb accounted for the highest single game total in the league last year.

      Drops happen. It is when they become constant for a receiver that they are an issue.

      • Waffle

        Bomber, I like Lawrence, more than most. He’s a 5th or 6th at best though

    • EnderWiggin

      I have to disagree about Lawrence. He has looked like our 3rd best WR this preseason. Besides that one drop, he has had very sticky hands.

  • DocNitty Ellipsoids Ornamental

    I take it that I should not bother watching the game. Bummer. Last season was so bad that it feels like there was no season. It left me with a competitive void that I filled by watching 90% of the Mariners games this season (which I’ve really enjoyed despite their own failures). I don’t know how I’ll deal with a repeat of last season. I’ve already taken up baseball (prior to this year I watched a max of two baseball games per year due to complete lack of interest). If the beloved suck again, what’s left? Will I have to take up watching golf?

    Oy vey.

    • MB30SD

      Doc… fuck golf.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Change over to the real thing, Doc. LFL. The hits are better.

      • DocNitty Ellipsoids Ornamental

        Thanks for that. Problem solved.

        • Irish Sweetness

          I don’t know know how it isn’t the #1 rated thing on TV ….

  • Trac

    Well, since every time I look there’s another injury, we may very well be playing for a franchise QB this year.

    Disappointed that we may not be able to field a healthy team let alone a good one. Fingers crossed but either way, I’d never switch to golf. Smh.

    • NewBearInTown

      I made you a trade offer Trac. I offered Matt Ryan to you and to Waffle, so whoever takes him first gets the trade.

  • EnderWiggin

    Hey 4ever85, thanks for setting up the league. I had a blast last night.
    I was thinking, next year, maybe let us draft a 4th QB. There was some great value for QBs in the late rounds but I had all 3 of my spots filled by then.

    • Frank Schoenburg

      +1

  • Trac

    Here’s some quotes from the comments section regarding Cobbs injury.

    “Rest Cobb against the Bears in week 1. He won’t be needed against that train wreck of a team.”

    “They could rest Rogers and still beat the Bears.”

    Totally get Fangio ‘ s sober assessment of where the Bears are at this point in time as an organization.

    Yes, it seems in 3 short years, Emery was able to historically align the Bears alongside the Matt Millan Lions.

    • BerwynBomber

      Stupid, arrogant comments. Cheese are a mess right now, and sorry, take Rodgers out of their lineup and they’d struggle to win three or four games all year.

      Also can’t agree we are anywhere near where Millen’s Kittens were. Those teams were a mess for what seemed a half decade. We had a horrible team last year. The year before that we were a minute away from winning from the division.

      • Trac

        Yup, we aren’t close to 0-16 yet. I guess it struck a chord because it reminded me of the arrogant opinion I used to have towards the Queens and Lions 5 or 6 years ago. The worm has turned, how ironic.

      • Trac

        He actually didn’t say take Rodgers out of play for the season. Just against us. At this point in time, the Packers could just as easily implode, I agree with that part..

        • BerwynBomber

          Oh, I figured what the writer was saying about Rodgers involved only the Bears game, but even last year we win that first game (at home) against the Cheese w/out #12 in the lineup.

          And lest we forget it was just two years ago that, following the Shea shoulder slam, the Cheese lost every game but one that Rodgers missed and that one game they won required an epic second half collapse by Dallas.

          Anyway, no biggie. Didn’t mean for my comment to come off as shooting the messenger.

    • Big Mike

      Fuck Phil emery

  • NewBearInTown

    Per several on my twitter feed the Bears are releasing Tim Jennings. That is surprising, but not too surprising.

    Jennings reminds me of Earl Bennett. Solid supporting cast member, but didn’t have the juice to be a star. New admin came in and cut him to save cap space.

    • BerwynBomber

      Best of luck to Tiny Tim. He had a couple WTF Pro Bowl-caliber years. Saw a stat last year that from 2010 till (then) present he was second in INTs in the entire league (during that span) to Richard Sherman.

      Mitchell’s job it is I suppose.

      • DocNitty Ellipsoids Ornamental

        That can’t be right, can it? He had one spectacular year with the Bears and 7 or 8 avg years. I’ve always felt that year was the anamoly.

        • BerwynBomber

          It might have been 2011 (not 2010) thru 2013, but yeah no lie.

        • Irish Sweetness

          The old specious, aberrant, anomalous member of the sample set, eh Doc? Violently variant to the old mean, huh?

          I always felt his good year was probably one of Peanut’s best. Guys just didn’t want to be throwing the ball near Peanut.

    • Frank Schoenburg

      I’ll wish Jennings luck too. Good player for us overall.

    • DocNitty Ellipsoids Ornamental

      I always liked Earl and was dissapointed in his development. His needle was pointing up until someone (can’t remember who) caved in his chest.

      • Waffle

        he bowed out when his brother died.

        • SC Dave

          It was both, I think. I really liked Earl, but I can’t blame him. He made a bunch of dough, did a good underwear ad, and left the game with (hopefully) a mostly sound physical vessel.

          • MB30SD
  • “Unlike the 2014 Bears, the 2015 Bears have a coaching staff capable of making evaluations and adjustments.”

    Two things:

    1) That factors into the regular season much more than the preseason. Not much game planning and adjustments go into the preseason. It’s more about evaluation than trying to win.

    2) The 2014 Bears were pretty much perfectly healthy in that game. The 2015 Bears are not.

    But overall, yeah, these Bears are going to face a talent deficit against good teams, especially on defense. I’m curious to see how much Fangio can scheme to cover that up.

    • BearDown100393

      The team is going into its 4th preseason game and how many have honestly shown enough to win a starting job?

      • Irish Sweetness

        Our backup linebackers. They need good reasons to keep a guy like Acho on the bench, for example. We could have a really interesting rotation for the front 7 this year.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Tim Jennings, eh?

    First off, I never was on board with TJ. He was small, got toasted like a marshmallow earlier on, and then I just never got the love.

    But it shows POX are serious. It shows they really see what they like from Mitchell and McMannis, Porter and maybe Alan Ball.

    Was NOT expecting that though.

    • Big Mike

      And now Mundy is on the IR

      • Irish Sweetness

        I’m guessing we see a lot of Sherrod Martin and Anthony Jefferson at safety next week.

        Did Cameron Meredith even suit up? Does that mean he’s a lock for the roster?

        • Waffle

          Jefferson gone
          Kaseem Greene gone

          • NewBearInTown

            Pace, like Emery, hasn’t cut any of his draft picks yet.

            Is the rookie cap making seventh rounders so valuable that they’re more likely to stick around than they used to be?

          • Waffle

            Maybe so, bears simply have to hit on multiple picks multiple.years in a row to turn this around.

          • Irish Sweetness

            That we still have nine cornerbacks on the roster, but TJ is gone, seems to point squarely at his salary.

            Haven’t we got enough cap space now to sign a tackle?

          • cutting Jennings actually costs them more cap space this year than keeping him. But they still have room to sign anybody they want at this point, because pretty much anybody available now is going to be on a minimum or near-minimum deal.

          • Bears had no 7th rounder this year. Their last pick was Fabuluje in round 6, who seems destined for the PS, IMO.

          • The GP

            Jefferson will not be a movin on up
            to that deluxe apartment in the sky

    • Shady

      What are the odds he ends up in Tampa?

      • Irish Sweetness

        I’m thinking Dallas. Maranelli factor…. and Scandrick is out for the season.

    • Waffle

      Porter hurt again.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Wow, Mundy is on IR ? They cut Louis-Jean – no loss … and Daniel Thomas.

  • NewBearInTown

    No love Trac? Make me an offer. Ryan is a top 10 QB.

    • Trac

      Ryan for Hilton and I’ll throw in Orton after I claim him. Remember, this is a negotiation not a bank robbery. Hee hee.

  • Irish Sweetness

    After 3 weeks our run defense is bottom third, pass defense is top third, and only three teams have a higher offensive rushing average per play: 1. Niners 2. Detroit 3. Philly.

    So we can run the ball. Passing will be as difficult as it always has been without any offensive tackles. Never a fan of Bushrod as a Bear, and there literally does not appear to be another serviceable tackle on the roster … other than obviously the guy who’s actually built to play OT, Kyle Long.

    One more year of FA and drafting, then we might be close.

    • can’t just look at volume stats, because those incorporate all the scrubs playing scrubs too.

      The rush O has been horrific with the 1st string. Same with pass D.

  • Anonymus

    I don’t get the Kyle Long love fest. The most overrated player on the roster.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Remember J’Marcus ? Omelette? Orlando?

      Kyle is like Anthony Munoz compared to those guys.

      • Anonymus

        The f’king Lions made a better choice with Warford in the 3rd round. I know, Long is a 2-time pro bowler. I don’t like PFF very much, but still.

        https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/04/18/rookies-in-focus-kyle-long/
        https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/04/18/rookies-in-focus-larry-warford/

        • Irish Sweetness

          Tim Jennings was a 2-time pro bowler ….. ahem.

          We’ve got more problems than Kyle though.

          Has anyone seen much of Tayo?

          Anyone want to see Grasu go to RG beside his buddy Long, at RT?

          • Anonymus

            “Tim Jennings was a 2-time pro bowler ….. ahem.”

            I don’t really understand that response, but Jennings was one of the best players on one of the best defenses on those two years. Meanwhile Kyle Long barely has the footwork to be a guard, much less tackle. Grassu at RG? Did you see him at center against PS caliber players?

          • Jennings was the 4th or 5th best player on the D in 2012, the one year of his career where he was anything more than a solid CB.

            He was part of the problem in 2013, when he went to the Pro Bowl based on name recognition despite having no reason to be anywhere near that game. He was an even bigger part of the problem in 2014, when he was one of the lazy, entitled veterans who tuned out Mel Tucker and didn’t give a rat’s ass anymore.

            Kyle Long deserved no part of the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2013, but was legitimately one of the better guards in the NFL last year, and I have heard multiple beat writers this year say that he was clearly the best player in Bears camp this year.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Anyone remember me posting some pictures a few years back of a Thai school doing their sports day march in SS gear and Nazi symbolism etc.?

    This is from a Thai school book. It is explaining that some people may frown upon being asked if they are a n****r. Ayuh.

    https://twitter.com/TheBlondtravels/status/638219457043628032/photo/1

  • “The Bears didn’t use a cornerback in their goal line package, instead putting an extra linebacker in with Brock Vereen.”
    If Brock Vereen is playing LB, you know things are bad.

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